Background: Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) induces rhinorrhea in a subset of patients with asthma or chronic rhinosinusitis or both and nasal polyps. The underlying mechanism of the reaction is obscure.
Methods: To assess the nasal response to ASA challenge, four groups of patients were challenged orally with ASA: group A (10 ASA-sensitive patients); group B (nine patients with nasal polyps and histories of tolerance to ASA); group C (nine ASA-tolerant patients with chronic allergic rhinitis); and group D (eight healthy nonatopic subjects).
Results: Nasal lavages obtained before and after ASA challenge were assayed for proteins (total protein, lactoferrin, lysozyme, albumin) and inflammatory mediators (histamine, prostaglandin D2, and leukotriene C4). ASA challenges induced severe rhinorrhea and congestion and significant increases in mean concentrations of all measured nasal proteins in group A. Histamine and prostaglandin D2 rose, but not significantly. In the two control groups with chronic rhinitis, ASA induced increases in the concentration of proteins and histamine. Leukotriene C4 concentrations were significantly elevated in nasal lavages after ASA challenge in groups A and C only. In group D no symptoms or changes in nasal proteins were observed after aspirin challenge.
Conclusions: These observations suggest that production of lipoxygenase products of arachidonate may induce glandular secretions that may participate in the clinical changes associated with ASA sensitivity.